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Regional Signature Dishes; Mains, Sides and Desserts

Bulgur Pilaf with green lentils, served with caramelized onions -Mercimekli Bulgur Pilavi

Bulgur pilaff with lentils, over sauteed onion rings; delicious and wholesome

Bulgur pilaff with lentils, over sauteed onion rings; delicious and wholesome

This wonderful, traditional pilaf is from my hometown Antioch (Antakya), and it is served with caramelized onions over the top. The sweetness of the caramelized onions complements the lentils and bulgur really well. I like to serve it with spicy pickled peppers or a green salad with a sharp lemon juice and olive oil dressing, they complement the pilaf wonderfully. Easy, healthy and delicious, this pilaf can be kept in fridge for 2-3 days.

Variation: I had some chestnut mushrooms that needed using the other day. So I sautéed the slices of the mushrooms with some crushed garlic, and then added a handful of chopped parsley. Seasoned with salt and pepper and added a juice of 1/2 lemon to the mixture for a nice tangy finish. I served the bulgur and green lentils pilaf with this sautéed mushrooms, it was delightful. Just another idea for serving.

Serves 6-8
Preparation time: 15 minutes Cooking time: 35 minutes

225gr/8oz/1 cup green lentils
350gr/12oz bulgur wheat, rinsed
15ml/1 tablespoon mild olive oil
750ml/ 1/4 pints/3cups hot water
Salt and ground black pepper to taste
To serve:
1 onion, halved and thinly sliced
45ml/3 tablespoons mild olive oil
Pickled green and red peppers

Boil the green lentils in a heavy pan with plenty of hot water for about 15 minutes. Drain the water and set the green lentils aside.

Combine the half cooked green lentils and rinsed the bulgur wheat in a heavy pan. Pour in the hot water and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste and stir to combine thoroughly. Bring to boil for 1-2 minutes, and then reduce the heat. Cover and simmer until all the liquid has been completely absorbed (about 15 minutes).

While the pilaf is cooking, heat the olive oil in a pan and stir in the onion slices. Over a medium heat, cook the onion slices for about 10-15 minutes until they start to get caramelized, stir occasionally. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Serve the bulgur and green lentils pilaf with the caramelized onion slices over the top. Spicy pickled peppers or a green salad with a sharp lemon juice and olive oil dressing would go really well with the pilaf.  Cacik dip of yoghurt with cucumbers and garlic is also lovely with this wholesome meal.

Afiyet Olsun!

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Bulgur Wheat Pilaf with Zucchini, Tomatoes and Onions – Kabakli As


Kabakli as; bulgur pilaf with zucchini and dried mint, wholesome and delicious

Kabakli as; bulgur pilaf with zucchini and dried mint, wholesome and delicious

This very easy and tasty bulgur rice makes use of the flesh of the zucchini (courgettes) that was scooped out to make the stuffed zucchini. That way, not only you get to use every bit of zucchini, but also you get a very delicious and wholesome dish in no time. This is a meal by itself, served with some garlic yoghurt, dried mint and cucumbers, Cacik, if you like.

Good, wholesome food doesn’t need to be expensive or difficult, as this wonderful dish shows.

Serves 4-6
Preparation time: 10 minutes Cooking time: 20 minutes (+10 min resting)

Flesh of 3 zucchini (courgettes)
1 onion, finely chopped
350gr/12oz bulgur wheat, rinsed and drained
400gr/14oz (1 can of) chopped tomatoes
600ml/1 pint/2 1/2 cup hot water
30ml/2 tablespoon olive oil
5ml/1 teaspoon dried mint
5ml/1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Salt and ground black pepper to taste

Heat the oil in a heavy pan and stir in the zucchini and the onions. Cook until the onions softened. Add the bulgur wheat, tossing it thoroughly. Stir in the chopped tomatoes and pour in the hot water. Season with salt and pepper to taste and stir to combine thoroughly. Bring to boil for a minute, then reduce the heat, cover and simmer for about 10-15 minutes, until all the liquid has been completely absorbed.

Turn off the heat, cover the pan with a clean dish towel and press the lid on top. Leave to steam for about 10 minutes. Stir in the dried mint and red pepper flakes then mix with a large spoon.

You can simply enjoy this dish with cucumber, garlic and yoghurt (Cacik) and with the stuffed zucchini with ground meat and chickpeas if you like.

Afiyet Olsun!

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Zucchini (Courgettes) Stuffed with ground meat and chickpeas -Nohutlu Sih-el Mahsi



Zucchini (courgettes) stuffed with ground meat, onions and chickpeas; Kabakli Sih el mahsi

Zucchini (courgettes) stuffed with ground meat, onions and chickpeas; Kabakli, nohutlu Sih el mahsi

This is a wonderful dish from Antakya (Antioch), where my roots are from, and an exciting way to cook zucchini. Traditionally, the locals in Antakya would stuff the zucchini as a whole and they would lightly brown them before cooking with the sauce. I prefer cutting the zucchini in half and lengthways and baking them; healthy, delicious and pretty to have on the plate. You can prepare this dish ahead of time and the leftovers freeze beautifully. Please save the flesh of the zucchini that you scooped out. They are delicious cooked in bulgur pilaf with zucchini.

How wonderful to share the food with friends and family. Living abroad and changing locations often, cooking and sharing food have been my salvation and a wonderful way of meeting new folks, making new friends. I hope you enjoy the recipes with friends and family and give yourself and everyone the gift of good food 🙂

Serves 4-6
Preparation time: 20 minutes Cooking time: 50-55 minutes

3 chunky zucchini/courgette
250gr/9oz ground (minced) lean beef or lamb
1 onion, finely chopped
3-4 cloves of garlic, crushed and finely chopped
200gr/7oz (1/2 can of) chopped tomatoes
200gr/7oz (1/2 can of) cooked chickpeas, rinsed

30ml/2 tbsp. pomegranate molasses, nar eksisi
30ml/2tablespoons olive oil
120ml/4fl oz/ 1/2 cup water
15ml/1tablespoon tomato paste
5ml/1teaspoon dried mint
5ml/1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Salt and ground black pepper to taste

To serve:
120ml/8fl oz plain yoghurt
1-2 garlic cloves, crushed with salt and finely chopped

Preheat the oven to 180F/350C/Gas 4

Cut the zucchini in half and then in lengthways. Using a dessert spoon, carefully scoop out some of the flesh to create a cavity that is large enough to stuff (Please save the flesh of the zucchini that you scooped out. They are delicious cooked in bulgur pilaf).

Mix 1 tbsp. water with the pomegranate molasses and wash the inside of the courgettes with this mixture. Add the leftover of this delicious juice to filling mixture.

Heat the oil in a heavy pan. Stir in the onions and garlic and cook until light golden. Add the ground (minced) meat and sauté for a few minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in the chopped tomatoes, left over pomegranate molasses sauce and the cooked chickpeas, mix well. Add the red pepper flakes and the dried mint, combine well. The filling is ready.

Place the zucchini in a greased baking tray. Take a spoonful of the filling and stuff the zucchini quarters. Take care not to over fill them. Dilute the tomato paste with the water and pour on the tray. Cover and bake in the oven for about 30 minutes. After this, uncover and bake for a further 10-15 minutes for a lightly browned finish.

In a bowl, mix the plain yoghurt and the garlic. Serve the stuffed zucchini hot, with the garlic yoghurt by the side. You can make a wonderful bulgur pilaf with zucchini using the flesh of the zucchini we scooped out; it complements this zucchini dish very nicely.

Afiyet Olsun,

Ozlem

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